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(ARCHIVE) Vol. XIX No. 8, august 1-15, 2009
A host of events for
Madras Week
By A Staff Reporter

On 22nd August this year, our city will turn 370. And celebrating this as Madras Week between the 16th and 23rd will be Chennai Heritage which publishes Madras Musings, along with several other organisations and agencies. Many of them have organised week-long programmes and from the spillover into the following week, it looks as though this will be a Madras Fortnight.

Chennai Heritage is organising eight talks in the city in collaboration with a host for each evening who is generously offering both venue as well as refreshments before the talk. These programmes are all open to the public. Chennai Heritage is also organising heritage walks. These require prior registration. Mylapore Times will also be hosting multiple events throughout the week as are Madras Terrace House, the Alliance Francaise, Asan Memorial School and Vanilla Children’s Place. They are organising story-telling sessions, film shows, music concerts and theatrical performances on the theme of Madras as well as exhibitions of photographs of the city.

Celebrating Madras in multiple ways, all of them involving schools and colleges, will be the Chennai chapter of the Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). It plans to host exhibitions, debates, art contests, pageants from history, and talks, all centring on the topic of numismatics in the Madras region. These will be a tribute to avid numismatist, INTACH member and a Madras Week enthusiast, Raja Seetharaman, who died a few days after Madras Week last year in tragic circumstances.

 Among the week-long events are plenty of exhibitions. The Madras Museum  and the Archaeological Survey of India, Chennai Circle, are conducting ones on topics related to the city. The Roja Muthiah Research Library’s exhibition on Gandhi in Madras will be opened to the public on August 15th and will continue till the 23rd. There will also be talks at the venue on the 15th, 17th and the 20th. The CP Ramaswami Iyer Foundation will be hosting an exhibition of Madras-based photographs and lithographs.

The performing arts are celebrating Madras Week in strength. Apart from what is happening at Madras Terrace House, Chennai Heritage is sponsoring a dance performance based on the ballad People’s Park Vazhi Nadai Chindu being choreographed under the auspices of the Narada Gana Sabha’s Natyarangam. This will premiere at the Tag Centre on the 16th. Eric Miller’s World Storytelling Institute will feature three storytelling sessions, of which two will be indoors and the last, based on the statues on the Marina, will be held at the beachfront.

Art galleries are putting up exhibitions during the week and beyond on the subject of Chennai. Gallery Sumukha and the Forum Art Gallery, Gallery Sri Parvati, Prakrit Arts and the DakshinaChitra gallery are some who have already announced their plans. Others are still drawing up plans.

A very heartening feature in this year’s celebrations is the proliferation of participating schools. While Asan Memorial and the Jaigopal Garodiã School are ever the old reli­ables, Sir M Ct M Boys’ School in Purasawalkam is joining them this year as hosts for public programmes. This is in addition to the approximately 75 schools that are working with INTACH.

There are at least four books being released during the week. On the 19th, the Madras Book Club will meet to release the book Madras School Of Orientalism, a compilation of articles on the subject with a preface by Thomas Trautman. The Book Club will again meet on the 23rd to release the Tamil translation of S. Muthiah’s Madras Rediscovered. The Madras Museum will release a reprint of a book on Temple Inscriptions in the Madras Region. Nandita Krishna’s book covering the history of the Madras region will be released during the week too. And Global Adjustments is releasing a coffee table book on the city, yesterday and today.

Talks on various subjects connected to the city will be hosted by organisations such as Rotary Clubs, International Women’s Association, Tag Centre, the Association of British Scholars, the Indo-American Association and, significantly, the American Consulate-General’s Public Affairs Section and the Russian Cultural Centre. In addition, there are plenty of fun events such as treasure hunts, drawing contests, poster design contests and music programmes by a host of other organisations.

This will be the first year when Government has got into the spirit of this, what with the Museum and Archaelogical Department playing a role. And the Chennai Hop On Hop Off Tour run by the State transport department will be available at concessional rates during the week for schools and colleges groups.

In short, it promises to be a vibrant and event-filled week. A true representation of our city of Madras that is Chennai.


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